Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Putting You in Your Story by Cathy Tully

Please join me in welcoming Cathy Tully to The Roses of Prose today.

A few years ago I listened to a woman speak at one of the writer’s conferences I attend every year. She had twenty plus books published so I figured there must be something I could take away from her talk and put to use. Guess what? There was…

She encouraged our group to think about how our hero/heroine might become more relatable--more three-dimensional--and how it would be easier for your reader to sympathize with because they’re so real? Long after this workshop I thought about what the speaker had said and something clicked. It was my light bulb moment. So, I took her advice and incorporated a part of who I am into my next book, and like they say, the rest is history : )

My first book, All You Need Is Love features, Little Man, my family dog, who we lost to illness. It is the biggest tribute I can pay him and his cuteness jumps off every page. I love dogs, always have, and through no planning of my own, a dog pops up in every book I write. In my mind, dogs are better than human secondary characters because they make people vulnerable without saying a word. We’re allowed to be our true selves around them without any judgment; and their unconditional love brightens the darkest day.

Marrying Mr. Right, my first novella, has a heroine, Missy Modesto, who is similar to a good friend I’ve known my whole life. Missy is a strong woman with a heart of gold and although years may pass between visits, when we do meet, it feels like only yesterday : ) Training Travis, my new contemporary romance, is about a divorced dad who gains custody of his fifteen year old daughter after his ex-wife’s untimely death. And even though I can’t personally relate to being divorced, I am the mother of two girls, so I can relate to Travis’ fifteen year old daughter and the mood swings of a teenage girl : ) 

My work in progress is a woman’s fiction about a menopausal mother of two. Candy is a substitute teacher and decides she’s fed up and wants a career of her own. So begins her journey into interior design : ) My old stomping grounds twenty years ago. Putting a piece of ourselves or our life’s experience into our stories enriches the readers experience because the characters jump off the page. I’ve gotten great feedback on my characters and their journeys, if you’re a writer, try putting ‘a type’ of someone you know into one of your stories. I guarantee it will not only be fun for you as a writer, but your reader will love it too : )



Rebecca Evans resents Travis McGill. Not only did he break her heart years ago, but he and his daughter represent the family she lost.  Now, all the caffeine in the world wouldn’t prepare her for his permanent move back to the hometown, Golden, PA, they once shared.

Due to the untimely death of his ex-wife, Travis McGill receives full custody of his fifteen-year-old daughter. He can kiss the quiet lifestyle he’s come to enjoy goodbye when he must live full-time with a teenager.  Soon, renovations not only begin on the old Victorian he’d purchased, but on Travis’ heart.

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Travis sat opposite Becca so he could watch her cook. When she turned to place the bottle on the counter, he noticed she was wore a pair of pointy high heels. Damn. She looked good in anything she wore. He couldn’t help think she looked great in everything that was underneath too.
In an effort to get his mind off her curves and avoid the embarrassment of being caught staring, he said, “So where did you learn to cook?”
Rebecca opened the broiler and turned the pork chops. “Television.”  She placed the fork on the spoon rest and covered the cooked carrots with foil. “What’s so funny?”
His laugh was husky and low. “That’s where I learned. I’m surprised Liz hasn’t bragged about my culinary skills by now.”
Rebecca smiled. “She has mentioned you make one mean marinara sauce.”
He shook his head. “Leave it to a kid to only remember spaghetti sauce.” She held out a wooden spoon filled with salad greens she had just tossed for him to taste.
When Travis’ tongue flicked over his lips, her knees went a little weak.
“What is this dressing? It’s delicious.” He took the spoon from her hand and ate the remainder.
When he licked his fingers, she groaned inwardly.
“Homemade vinaigrette,” she answered weakly.
Travis handed her the wooden spoon and the tips of their fingers touched. Hers tingled. Now more than ever, she knew whatever barrier she had thought she put between them no longer existed.
God help her.


Leah St. James said...

Welcome, Cathy. Great advice! I always love when books give me a peek into other lifestyles or even other professions (like interior design). :-) Best of luck with all your projects!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Nice to have you here, Cathy. Your advice certainly rang true with me. Putting real life into our stories can only make them better. It kind of goes back to the - write what you know - mandate. Good luck with all of your works.

Diane Burton said...

Glad to have you here, Cathy. Recently, I heard the term "deep POV" and had no idea it's what I've always done. When I'm writing my character, I am that person. I'm in her head and she's real. Sometimes, she's a little bit me (in real life). Mostly, she's who I wish I could be. Best wishes.

Jannine Gallant said...

Hi Cathy, I also have a dog in every book I write. Adds to the fun! Best of luck!

Alicia Dean said...

Excellent post, Cathy. Thank you for reminding us how to help make our characters more three dimensional. It sounds like you've done exactly that in your stories. Best of luck!